Bridge Banter: Build team around Fernando Torres or find new striker

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Fernando Torres after scoring his late winner against Manchester City in October 2013. One of only 20 goals scored in three years. Fernando Torres after scoring his late winner against Manchester City in October 2013. One of only 20 goals scored in three years.

In the last week Samuel Eto’o was released by Chelsea as expected.

It may surprise some readers to learn that Eto’o scored nearly once in every two games during his short time at Stamford Bridge.

That is pretty admirable given that he is well past his prime, was new to the Premier League and was clearly never fancied by his manager, who publically joked about his age and openly complained about his misfiring strikers.

Compare that to Fernando Torres who has scored 20 goals in 110 games – less than one goal in every five. That’s even worse than Ronny Rosenthal’s record for Liverpool in the early 1990s.

That record is even more horrifying when you consider Torres is at the peak of his powers, has been playing in the Premier League longer than he played in La Liga, and even had his mentor Rafael Benitez managing the side last season.

Some have speculated that Torres has never fully recovered after suffering a major knee injury at 2010, but for me the problem runs deeper.

Torres simply has been the wrong man at the wrong time for Chelsea.

At Atletico Madrid (a very different team in 2007) and at Liverpool (a very different team in 2010), he was a fantastically effective impact striker whose explosive runs provided the perfect counter attacking threat, allowing those teams to sit behind the ball against stronger teams.

This has not been the Chelsea way, where Didier Drogba’s aerial threat and Frank Lampard’s positional expertise created so many goals while attacking full backs provided width while at least one defensive midfielder always protected the centre backs.

That system does not need a Torres, it needs an Edinson Cavani, a Zlatan Ibrahimovic, or (dare I say it), an Andy Carroll who stops fouling defenders all the time. It needs someone who can hold the ball up and bring others into the game as well as pull defenders out of position.

So Mourinho has a big decision to make now he has a full summer to plan for the season ahead: build your team around Torres or find a new striker.

 

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